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That time the NBA banned Dwyane Wade's migraine goggles

The NBA cited a rather odd reason for banning the tinted goggles.
Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade

Dwyane Wade

In a game against the New York Knicks in 2011, Miami Heat legend Dwyane Wade wore tinted goggles to protect his eyes from the light as too much exposure caused intense migraines. As always, the NBA had their eyes on Wade’s goggles. It did not take long to ban them, citing a rather odd reason.

“Competitive advantage”

Donning the tinted goggles, Wade dropped 34 points on 14-of-22 shooting from the field, 16 rebounds, and 5 assists in a 93-88 loss to the Knicks. After the game, the league got hold of the said goggles, reviewed them, and concluded it might have given Wade some edge against his foes.

After a hands-on review at league headquarters in Manhattan Thursday afternoon, the league has rejected the shaded goggles Wade planned to wear against the Knicks. Officials determined there was too much tinting and it would have given him a competitive advantage because opponents would not be able to see his eyes,” per ESPN.

At face value, the NBA’s ruling may seem bizarre. But the league knows about the game more than anyone else. Players, especially playmakers, do tend to misdirect their defenders using their eyes. That’s how the term “no-look pass” came to be.

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Wade quickly moved on from the incident despite the league’s unfavorable ruling. Nothing was going to stop him from lacing his sneakers up.

I just don’t want to take chances right now,” said Wade, who missed the Heat’s victory last Saturday with a migraine. “I want to play, and I don’t want nothing to stop that.

Wade’s careerlong condition

In the 2011 NBA Playoffs, Wade was at risk of missing Game 2 of their first-round duel with the Philadelphia 76ers. LeBron James revealed then that his best buddy wasn’t answering his calls. But James was correct in his forecast as Wade suited up and dropped 14 points en route to a Heat win.

“I called him this morning and he didn’t answer. We expect him to be here tomorrow. We’ll give him a full day today and a full day tomorrow and he’ll be here,” James said, per ESPN.

Wade’s bout with migraines followed him for a chunk of his illustrious career. The goggles would’ve alleviated his pains if it wasn’t for the NBA’s ruling. But Wade admitted that he’s learned how to maneuver around the discomfort.

There are different levels of migraines. It’s not a good thing. It affects more than just your head. It affects your body, your energy, your eyes. It affects your attitude of course. It’s unfortunate. But I’ve learned how to manage,” Wade said, per the Chicago Tribune.

It’s an interesting little detail of Wade’s career. What if the NBA allowed him to wear those tinted glasses? Can we say that Wade, throughout his legendary career, was playing with a handicap?

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